Rafael Payare’s profound musicianship, technical brilliance, and charismatic presence on the podium have elevated him as one of today’s most sought-after conductors. The 2022–23 season marks his first as music director of Orchestre symphonique de Montreal and his fourth season as music director of San Diego Symphony Orchestra, with which his relationship has been recognized as one of the most dynamic in North America.
Payare has worked with many of the world’s leading ensembles, including the Vienna Philharmonic, Dresden Staatskapelle, Zurich’s Tonhalle Orchestra, Leipzig’s Gewandhaus Orchestra, London Symphony Orchestra, Munich Philharmonic, Orchestra dell’Accademia nazionale di Santa Cecilia, Chamber Orchestra of Europe, Mahler Chamber Orchestra, Czech Philharmonic, and Bavarian Radio Symphony Orchestra. Since making his North American debut with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in 2015, he has worked with the major orchestras of Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. He has enjoyed collaborations with eminent soloists, including pianists Piotr Anderszewski, Emanuel Ax, Yefim Bronfman, Jean-Yves Thibaudet, Daniil Trifonov; violinists Vilde Frang, Hilary Hahn, Sergey Khachatryan, Gil Shaham, and Frank Peter Zimmerman; cellist Alisa Weilerstein; and soprano Dorothea Röschmann.
Rafael Payare’s inaugural season as music director of Orchestre symphonique de Montreal (OSM) includes the launch of a multiyear Mahler cycle to open their season at Maison symphonique; a European tour, including the OSM’s debut at London’s Southbank Centre and return to the Vienna Konzerthaus for two concerts; and their return to Carnegie Hall, which marks Payare’s debut at the celebrated venue. Other highlights of the season include his New York Philharmonic debut and return visits to The Cleveland Orchestra, Los Angeles and Munich Philharmonic Orchestras, London Symphony Orchestra, and San Francisco Symphony.
Payare previously served as principal conductor and music director of the Ulster Orchestra, from 2014 to 2019, with which he appeared twice at the BBC Proms, in 2016 and 2019. He now holds the title of conductor laureate in recognition of his artistic contribution to the orchestra and City of Belfast during his five-year tenure. He was awarded first prize at the Malko International Conducting Competition in May 2012.
Learn more about Rafael Payare